Recently ‘Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ (BOTW) was released for Wii U and the Nintendo Switch. Reviews rave over the game saying that Nintendo has created another adventure game that will be hard to beat.
A feature that is loved by many is the open concept that is immediately experienced upon playing. IGN.com even goes as far to say that the landscape of Hyrule itself is the actual main character for this game.
BOTW was tied for second place for a Metacritic score of 98, but after Jim Sterling, a video game narrator, gave the game a 7 out of 10, the game was knocked down to a score of 97 which is tied with eight other games instead of the three that BOTW could have been tied with.
After this review, Sterling’s site suffered from DDOSing since fans of the game were pissed off.
But not all fans of the game felt that DDosing was a good way to handle their anger or that a 7 out of 10 was necessarily a bad score.
Owen S. Good (Polygon) wrote about this drop in Metacritic rating, but what seems even more important than the argument over whether the game was a 7 out of 10 or not is that there are game developers who actually get paid bonuses based on these scores that are released, so for them, it is a very serious thing.
In 2013, Kotaku.com published an article discussing these scores and the bonuses attached. Bethesda promised money to Obsidian if ‘Fallout:New Vegas’ received a score above 85. A team of 70 was expected to receive $14,000 each, but the game received a metascore of 75.
Kotaku Interview with Kim Swift:
“Typically, when you go into pitch meetings and whatnot, publishers are going to want to know your track record as far as Metacritic,” said Kim Swift, a game designer best known for helping create games like Portaland Quantum Conundrum. “As a company, what is your Metacritic average? As an individual, what is your Metacritic average?”
These scores are more than just a rating. They impact developers and whether people want to buy the games. This is something that many have strong opinions on.
Some are simply defensive for Jim Sterling and others have voiced their opinions on the rating system itself, but in a way gamers rely on the rating system to decide on whether they want to purchase a game. Is there a better solution that won’t impact developers’ jobs and pay? What are your opinions?